TORONTO -- Chris Pronger of the St. Louis Blues pulled out
of the World Cup of Hockey on Sunday with an undisclosed injury,
and was replaced on the Canadian team by Jay Bouwmeester of the
Pronger's decision comes less than a week before the Canadian
team was to open training camp. The team is scheduled practice for
the first time Friday in Ottawa.
"We are disappointed that Chris could not participate, but this
gives a great opportunity to one of Canada's rising young stars,"
said Wayne Gretzky, the executive director of Canada's World Cup
team. "When you can replace Chris with a player of Jay's caliber,
it shows you how much depth we have in this country."
Pronger is the fourth high-profile Canadian team player, and
second defenseman, to withdraw from the tournament due to injury.
Last week, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour pulled out due
to a back ailment, while Colorado Avalanche defenseman Rob Blake
(shoulder) and Detroit Red Wings center Steve Yzerman (eye) also
Belfour, Pronger, Yzerman and Blake all played for the Canadian
team that won gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games two
years ago, Canada's first Olympic victory in 50 years.
Canada will kick off its tournament Aug. 31 in Montreal against
the defending World Cup champion United States.